According to a new poll from the Associated Press, “Most Americans say go ahead and raise taxes if it will save Social Security benefits for future generations. And raise the retirement age, if you have to.”
I’m not sure I trust the results of the poll given this from later in the article:
“In previous polls, most of the options for addressing Social Security scored poorly among the public, which helps explain why Congress hasn’t embraced them. But the AP-GfK poll forced people to make a choice: Raise taxes or cut benefits? Raise the retirement age or cut monthly payments?
Democrats, Republicans and independents all favored raising the retirement age over cutting monthly payments. But there was a big divide on raising taxes. Sixty-five percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents supported higher taxes, compared with just 38 percent of Republicans.
Of course a poll that only gives respondents two solutions for Social Security – raise taxes and/or cut benefits – is going to result in a lot of support for raising taxes or cutting benefits. There was no option for, say, letting people opt out of Social Security and invest their own money.
The problem with Social Security is systemic. The program is, essentially, a defined-benefit pension plan every American is forced to participate in. And as we’ve learned about defined-benefit pension schemes, they simply don’t work. They stay afloat as long as you can keep adding enough suckers at the bottom of the pyramid to keep funding benefits for those at the top. It’s a ponzi scheme, and eventually they always fail.
We can perhaps prolong the life of Social Security by making it into an even worse deal than it already is, forcing Americans to pay more into the program while getting less from it, but that is only so much kicking of the can down the road.
The solution for Social Security is to put Americans in charge of their own retirements.